AME Zion Health Equity Advocates & Liaisons (HEAL) partnership

The AME Zion HEAL partnership aims to foster health equity and improve health in the African American community through a partnership designed to build trust and collaboration in order to address disparities, and increase engagement in clinical research.

What do we hope to accomplish?

The partnership among AME Zion churches in North Carolina and DukeHealth hopes to reduce health disparities and improve health in traditionally under-served communities; cultivate trust via dispelling myths and negative perceptions of clinical trials among people of color; increase knowledge in health research; and bridge the gap between medical development and community needs.

More about the AME Zion HEAL Partnership

AME Zion churches in North Carolina serves as partners, co-learners, and advisors to DukeHealth’s research programs to ensure that clinical trials participation accurately reflects the communities of North Carolina. Through combined resources and expertise, the program aims to foster trust, transparency, and relationships among researchers, community, and clergy, with the ultimate goal of reaching underserved and underrepresented populations.

AME Zion churches in North Carolina and DukeHealth partnership provides intensive training to AME Zion church clergy on topics such as the importance of clinical research, informed consent, protection of research participants, advances on ethical standards, and research design and methods. Clergy, in turn, uses their extensive expertise in cultural knowledge to educate research teams, and provide feedback, and guidance to effectively and respectfully improve population health through research. This partnership is designed to increase awareness and understanding of clinical research within underrepresented congregations and communities. Having become more aware of the pervasive perceptions, preferences, and attitudes related to clinical research has deepened our understanding of the critical need for our communities to no longer be ‘underrepresented’ in research and underserved in healthcare delivery. This partnership is critical to improving the health of our communities, through awareness, education, trust, and collaboration.